29.11.12

New to the shop!

These funny creatures have just been added to the shop. They come as brooches or necklaces. 
Perfect as a stocking filler or little treat for yourself! Each owl is individually painted and has its own little quirky personality (or at least thats what I imagine). 
Its my birthday on the 30th so for one day only there is a 27% discount on all items in my shop with the code happytwentyseven 
thanks for your continued support! xoxo

28.11.12

Wilf at eleven months

Oh Wilf, we are almost at a year! i cant quite believe it and yet sometimes I feel its been so much longer already. I cant remember life without you almost. 
Despite the lack of sleep you are utterly and completely the most amazing being I have had the pleasure of knowing. I am so thankful you came into mine and your daddy's life. 
Here are a few things that happened this past month. 
You now have five little teeth, one for every week of the past five, ouch! Your hair is getting that little bit longer so I can fluff it up, and then hug you close. On the subject of hair you are obsessed with my hair rollers (unused and bought on a whim) you stick them in your own hair, or mine or your daddy's and laugh and laugh. You slot them through the holes in your shape sorter and then get upset when they all velcro together and you cant get them out.
You are a calm presence and a deep thinker, so everyone says. A philosopher someday maybe like your Ouma. 
Your face lights up every time you see our cats, one day they may let you play with them. 
You have discovered making marks with pencil and crayon, lets learn to keep that to the paper and not the door again though hey? 
Your games are taking narrative and you will hold two soft toys together and squeak noises for them both and press them together. You like it when I kiss first your selected toys and then yourself, you smile big and laugh. You have even started giving us big open sloppy kisses, I love them! 
You take little steps with your walker and can stand solo like a meerkat but so far no walking, I think you enjoy crawling much more and there is plenty of time for that. 
This time last year, a day or so before I turned 26 I wanted you to  arrive just that bit early so that I could say I was 25 when I had you. How silly that seems now, I wish I had know this time last year that is just a few weeks you would arrive in your own time and change my life forever. Almost a year, wow. 
Pictures taken on the morning Wilf turned 11 months (the 14th) at my parents. You can see other 'by months here'
p.s here is a post back when I was 38 weeks! Some of my favourite pictures of my pregnancy  

27.11.12

what wilf wore 12

What Wilf Wore
Knitted boots by - Padraig 
Only the best baby romper ever - vintage Mothercare (it was Tom's when he was a baby)

26.11.12

'Wilf can play the organ and this is how it sounds''


Some pictures of my stay at my parents in Aberystwyth. 

Wilf and my dad enjoyed playing the organ together, in fact I'm not sure who had more fun. They played together day after day. Special moments I tried to steal and freeze in time. 
My 16 year old sister Serin (who claims she isn't good with emotions) made me cup of tea after cup of tea and assured me when I cried that she didn't think I was a horrible mother. Who played with Wilf and shared with him special dolls from her childhood and sang to him in Welsh.

Wilf the morning he turned eleven months playing with my dad's childhood teddy bear Bengie who is almost fifty years old and handmade by my dad's mum. 
Bengie and my childhood doll (although I am a little confused as I'm sure my doll had big red face paint spots on her from when we suffered chicken pox together) aaaand I thought she was lost on the train..is this an impostor? mum?

I am so proud of my childhood and the way I was raised. My parents instilled in me that the most important thing in life was to be a good and kind person. I remember once asking my dad if I was pretty and him telling me that looks were irrelevant, that the most important thing in life was to be a good person. 

Although i would say I am inspired to be successful in what I do, the motives behind it have always been personal success and not a monetary gain. My parents didn't spoil me with material possessions and encouraged me to be creative in the absence of distractions like TV (although we watched a little, mainly Sesame Street and Henry's Cat!). We never had money growing up but it never was an issue. When I was younger I desperately wanted Barbies and My Little Ponies but when I wasn't allowed these I created my own, hand drawn and cut out. I called them my 'paper people' and they lived in a folder, animals and houses and people with extensive wardrobes that could be replenished with the aid of a box of coloured pencils. My parents always encouraged me with my goal to become an 'artist' and I truly believe what you are happiest doing at five will probably be what you are happiest doing as an adult. 

Although the world and technology have moved on since I was a child I do hope to instil in Wilf similar morals (although we will let him watch some TV and I think some Iphone apps are actually really great for kids). That imagination, music, food and laughter are what we should live and thrive on. Seeing my family and how incredible and mature my sister and brother are grounds me and reminds me of what life is about. It made me return to Bristol remembering that what was most important in life was the love Tom, Wilf and I have for each other and what an incredible unit we are. That despite the really really tough times (and there have been a few) we are doing this together and we are raising the most beautiful little soul. 

p.s another great thing my parents told me (when reading Roal Dahl) is that the line '"If a person has ugly thoughts, it begins to show on the face. And when that person has ugly thoughts every day, every week, every year, the face gets uglier and uglier until it looks so ugly you can hardly bear to look at it." was true. Slightly terrifying of course but for many years the moment I felt jealously or anger at someone I thought upon those lines and hurriedly rearranged my thoughts. To this day when I feel anger towards someones unreasonable behavoir I think about this saying, perhaps it only worked/works as it appeals to my vanity! 

Diana F Giveaway!

I am so thrilled to share with you a giveaway I have been excited about for a while now. Some of you may have seen my pictures on my Instagram feed of my beautiful Diana F that Lomography kindly sent me. I'm very used to just click clicking away with my DSLR, in truth I can be a little trigger happy, my usual photography style is to take many pictures, some good, some bad. With a analogue camera your pictures are limited to the amount on the film (of course!) so you need to think a little more carefully.
I love this as it really makes me think about all the elements of the picture, the moment, the light, the subjects, the story. And I love not knowing how it is all going to come out once the printed images arrive!
So far I have used up one of the three sets of film I have for this camera, I hoped to have some developed and printed to share with you in time for the giveaway but unfortunately they are still on their way. I will of course share them at a later date!
Now for the fun part. Lomography have been kind enough to offer one lucky reader a Diana F Buttercup of their own. These really are the most beautiful cameras.
Lomography have also been kind enough to offer 10 piggy points to all Tigerlilly Quinn readers to spend in their store upon signing up with their website
To enter just complete one/all of the below and good luck!
winners will be drawn and contacted as soon as giveaway ends, if no contact has been made within a week another winner will be drawn
a Rafflecopter giveaway

25.11.12

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24.11.12

doh doh doh


wilf laughing from fritha on Vimeo.
Just a little note to say happy weekend.
This past few days have been happy ones, and little Wilfryd is even sleeping blocks of 2hrs in a row! Things are a lot more positive around here and I really feel like we are working as a team again.
This little video clip was taken when Wilf was seven months but I just found it recently on Tom's phone. I hope this brings a smile to your face, I think it will forever be my pick me up. How could you possibly be sad listening to a baby laugh?
xoxo

23.11.12

Totally Rad - Red Lab


SO for the longest time I wanted to check out Totally Rad (Redlab) , I had heard about it before and seen some of the photo effects it can produce so when I found out you could download a free trail I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to try them for myself. Stupidly I downloaded it whilst Photoshop was still running which messed up the download process and even through a deleted the file and tried again numerous times my Mac somehow kept a sneaky part of the download hidden and therefore I was unable to re-install and try it out. Redlab for their part were really helpful and we emailed back and forth trying to figure out the problem. In the end without someone actually looking at my Mac (and considering they are based in America this was not an option) we both decided to call it quits.
So I guess I forgot about it, then my Mac broke, a fellow blogger offered up her husband (a computer wizard of sorts) to help and he kindly emailed me suggestions to get it running again. Sadly my Mac was deader than a dead thing, another friends husband (who lives round the corner) offered his help and after a couple of weeks and a new harddrive has brought it back to life. So thankful!
I forgot how much I missed photoshop and all my other Adobe programs and am excited all over again to photograph and edit. This lead me to the decision to just go ahead and buy it, it was going to happen eventually and I had saved myself a ton by not getting my Mac professionally repaired.
I'm really glad I did because it has made editing photos firstly really simple and secondly really fun! Before I bought it I thought it was a set of actions I was buying but actually its a lot like the way the filter effects work on Photoshop. The bit that was a pleasant surprise was that you can mix up the filters to create your own 'recipe' that you can go back to and use with a click of a button. This means the more you use it the better you will be at creating your own personal recipes.

For Black Friday (today) Totally Rad are giving a whopping 35% off everything in their shop. Just click here and enter code 'BLACKFRIDAY' at the checkout.
Totally rad are an affiliate of mine but I really really love their products! 

22.11.12

Some Insta pics of our time away

Whilst I was away I didn't take many pictures with my DSLR. I had planned to take some pictures of how pretty Aberystwyth can be in the winter sun but in the end most of my stay was spent very close to home and most moments were just captured on my Iphone. I used up my first Diana F film on my stay so whilst I was taking some pictures with that I let my little brother take some on my phone. Here is what he came up with.
I think he has a great eye for a picture don't you? I actually love that some of my favourite pictures are taken with a phone instead of my 'fancy' camera. In fact on my last two holidays abroad before I bought my DSLR all my pictures were taken with my phone and there are some real treasures on there. I also love how you are able to capture everyday moments a lot easier this way. Here are a few more taken by myself, I am using the Iphone app VSCO CAM for the effects on these images and then running them through the app Instagram.
What are your favourite camera apps? I would love to add to my collection, I am a little obsessed with finding new ones! xoxo

21.11.12

a winner and a thank you

see he does sleep sometimes ;)
these pictures were taken from my instagram feed from the past few days at my parents. The expert skill of removing a baby from a sling and keeping him asleep (helped my my dad).
Firstly I want to say thank you so much for the lovely comments (and emails) on my post yesterday. I will reply to you all just as soon as I can. I really appreciate each and every one of them.
sorry I am a little late in announcing this but the winner of the Rowdy Roddy Vintage giveaway can be found here. Do check out Rowdy RoddyVintage when thinking of christmas presents for your little ones! So much loveliness.
Oh and don't forget you have until the rest of this week to enter the Fever giveaway

20.11.12

A sleep update.. (oh gawd you say not another one)


As you may be able to gather from the tone of this blog over the past few weeks that things have been pretty tough round here. In fact I would be fairly happy to erase the last four weeks of my life altogether thankyouverymuch. Wilf sprouted three teeth in as many weeks, came down with the neuro virus and was poorly for 14 days. Slept in batches of twenty minutes or not at all until 10pm and up again (with waking every half an hour-45 mins) at 3.30am.
Tom and I have been bickering like mad. I resent him ever telling me he is tired as (and I think pretty much every mother in the world has said this at least once) 'you don't know the meaning of tired!!' Of course he is tired and in my calmer states I do try and remind myself its not about taking score and his tiredness is valid too...its just not as valid as mine right? ;)
My bones ache and feel like they will crumble and my eyes burn and feel like dead weights in my fuzzy head. I don't enjoy my days, I certainly don't enjoy my nights. Tom stepped up with helping overnight during the week and will get up for two out of the seven or so awakenings between 10ish and 6am. He also puts him to bed every night and will do predominately the larger share of the evening shift too. I know I should be appreciative of this but I needed to step out of my situation to see so as all my head said was 'its so much harder harder harder for me'.
My dad recently had an operation (which thankfully went well) and was having little over a week to recover so I thought I would go down to West Wales to visit him and my younger siblings for a break. Of course my dad was recovering and so was quite weak and unable to lift Wilf due to his stitches, (my mum is away at the moment). My family are absolutely fantastic and love Wilf to pieces, they amused him and let me go for long baths and (after a rather epic meltdown one night) my sister took it upon herself the next day to carry Wilf around for walks in his sling so I could catch a break. Still the nights were horrendous and Wilf refused to sleep until ten-ish most nights and then up again between 3.30am and 5am with about 100 get ups inbetween. I came down (and still have) some kind of cold that gave me hot sweats and then shivers through the night and a thick head during the day. I felt/feel so weak that I can barely lift him and the thought of breastfeeding has made me feel even more exausted. Basically I feel like I have nothing left.

Before I left (and Wilf had just got better from his illness) Tom and I argued about Wilf's sleep. My whole heart and being agree with gentle parenting. With him finding his own way to sleep longer stretches and us guiding him there with routines and stories and bath and cuddles. But hey the reality is? Its not working, and whilst a few months ago I was happy-ish with going with the flow, sleep deprived but positive I no longer feel that way. In fact each day I wake and feel frustrated and tired and long for the day to end, sure I still meet with friends and its not all miserable but its certainly not what I had envisioned when I day dreamed about becoming a mum. If I sound naive about how hard parenthood is then yep you got me, I never thought it would be this hard. And whilst I didn't assume my baby would sleep well from day one I didn't realise we would get to almost a year and still be surviving on less than an hour in a row. I also didn't realise the strain something like that can put on a relationship.

When i was pregnant and to this day I have read many a book on parenting, not on what stages they should be at or anything but on the science and understanding behind certain approaches. I feel most at home with books like 'The Attachment Parenting' book (although I had not heard of the style of parenting before I had Wilf) and also books like 'Three in a bed' on Co-sleeping, Gentle Birth/Gentle Mothering - on birth and raising your baby with a gentle approach and 'What Mothers Do' on giving yourself a break and understanding the small things you do with your child every day make them the people they are and is far more important than the housework. All these books find me nodding me head in agreement and ahh-ing in 'oh that makes sense!' and I felt happy with the way we were doing things as they fitted with my ethos and my gut instincts. Only what happens when the gentle way you want to parent is just not working??

And so I come to the topic of CIO (crying it out). I will admit that again in my naivety I used to think that people who did this were a) ill-informed or b) just plain mean. I used to think that parents who sleep trained this way did so so that they could get back to the routine of their pre-baby schedule as quickly as possible without any of the hard work. I thought they were ill informed about the dangers of cortisol levels and long term psychological damage. I'm embarrassed that I thought these things, please don't begrudge me for sharing that as I am stating I was wrong in my single minded point of view.
I now only have the upmost sympathy and understanding for parents who have reached this decision. I spoke to a few people about their experience of CIO, how they reached their decision ranged from near marital breakdowns, severe depression and one upon crashing and writing off her car in extreme sleep deprivation risking her and her child's life. My heart goes out to all those poor parents just struggling to do what is best for their families. I think you know when enough is enough and then what ever you choose to do to get by should be done with zero guilt. 

Whilst I am still not comfortable with leaving Wilf alone for any amount of time to cry I think our next plan of action will unfortunately involve some crying. This may be crying in our arms or being soothed in his bed but as he currently can only fall asleep with motion (and being a rather heavy little boy my arms just cannot take this 12 times a day anymore) we are going to have to try and help him fall asleep himself. Again we are looking into other treatment on top of this, I am taking him to our GP to hopefully be referred to the Homopathic Dr's here in Bristol (something I have been meaning to do for a while but not got round to yet) to see if they can help. It is a constant worry that the reason he does not sleep for very long is due to some kind of discomfort. I only hope it is just a bad cycle he has gotten into and we can try and ease him out of as gently as possible. 

NB: I wrote this in stages over the past four or five days, I am now back home in Bristol where I raged a fever all night long. Tom stepped in and took care of Wilf on his own throughout the night and although I was awake a fair bit (and hallucinating for some of it I think!) I think I may have slept better than I have in a year! 

17.11.12

Little Peach

I have been a fan of The Little Peach since I came across her work (via her sister's blog). We soon became Instagram friends and when one day Sally posted a picture of some of her new work (and I exclaimed how beautiful it was) she kindly contacted me to see if I would like a piece for Wilf!
I'm sure you will agree that her work is just so beautiful. Sally makes custom prints (and plates!) to commemorate special occasions such as a birth date or wedding or a special someones name. You can visit her shop here. I love the nautical theme to this illustration, it really goes with the colours we have chosen for his room and it makes me smile every time I see him as a little sailor. 
Thanks again so much Sally this lovely gift. Something we will treasure his whole life. xoxo

16.11.12

What Mama Wore

What Mama Wore:
Moredale Jacket c/o Joules
Jumper - Primark
Skirt - ASOS
Boots - Fly London
Camera - Diana F c/o Lomography 

On the weekend Tom's mum visited and she and Tom spent the afternoon with Wilf. Which was great for a whole number of reasons, quality time with daddy, granny and omgsooverdue freedom for me. My friend Dona came round and we went to my local park and gossiped and took pictures. I actually wanted to photograph Dona in some of my new owl jewellery I have made (and will share soon) but kindly she also took pics for me of my outfit and I got to test out my new Diana F. I don't ever remember not using digital (apart from when we would use a disposable camera on nights out as a teenager) so it was a complete first for me to take a picture..and not see what I had just taken. Its so exciting to see how they come out and also as I only took a few that day and will take a few more on different occasions it will be a lovely surprise to see what I have on there when they are developed. I have a giveaway coming up really soon on these lovely camera's so make sure to check back for that!

I love the green of this Joules jacket against the mustard of the jumper and the detailing of the jacket makes it that extra bit special. Did you see that Wolf button? How cute? The inside lining is the prettiest, you can see a peek of it on the collar but unfortunately I forgot to photograph it this time. I imagine using this jacket on days where a cardigan is not quite enough but a coat is that step too far. It also makes me feel like autumn walks and my parents old farm house, I used to love visiting to saw wood for the fire, there is something so therapeutic about sawing wood, its one of my top ten favourite things to do. 
After we took pictures we stopped for a drink and I got to catch up on all the latest news from our friends without being interrupted. Dona is my oldest friend, we first met at 14 in a science class. The first thing I said to her was 'do you want to sit next to me?' and then next 'do you like rats?'. To her credit she could have labelled me a crazy right there and then but I'm glad she got time to know me. If you are wondering why that was the second thing I ever said to her (and I wouldn't blame you for wondering) it's because at the time I had two pet rats who were like dear friends to me. As a socially awkward teenager without so many friends, they used to sit on my shoulders as I wrote poetry and drew pictures in the solitude of my teenage angst bedroom, oh yes. I wish I could tell my teenage self that it would all be OK just as soon as I got out of school. I digress but I thought I would share with you a awkward story right there with you ;)

As I've grown older my taste in clothes has matured a little, now I am in favour of tailored flattering clothes, but with good bursts of colour. A few more of my favourites from the Joules website are, this fox jumper (of course!) this dress, the colour is perfect and these wellies! 

15.11.12

A Collection

a few photos from around our house.
I am visiting family at the moment in West Wales, I am planning to take him to the sea today. Lets hope the sea air helps him sleeeep.
1, letters and number cards from my granny and inks from the art box
2, Maddie cat
3, A badge I thought I had lost
4, its a little sad how excited I get about cleaning products..
5, Wilf's bath products are nicer than mine

13.11.12

Our Halloween

I realise this is a little while ago now but I have just discovered my battery charger for my camera and have been able to take my photos off. My camera died soon into our Halloween and lots of these shots are blurry as it was evening and I rarely use a flash.
This year was the first time I have ever carved a pumpkin myself, they weren't the most artist creations you are ever seen but I'm quite proud of them all the same. Like a crazy person I went on the hunt for Pumpkins the day before Halloween so of course they had sold out, I felt the shop assistant was holding back on saying 'dur!' when he told me that there were none left. Tom (and Waitrose) saved the day there although I also managed to pick up a few little squashes from Lidl in the morning to add to the decorations. We asked our friends to dress up should they so feel like it and I was planning on painting my face but when my friend came round in the afternoon to help she wasn't dressed up and neither was her boyfriend when he arrived. Tom had been poorly the night before so he returned from work just wanting to go to bed (although he came down a little later) and so I thought I would simply stretch to cat ears. Our other guests were running a little late but when they arrived they had gone ALL OUT on their costumes, day of the dead lady and a dead circus master (?) with full on face paint and costumes. It was pretty funny, for me sitting at the head of the table it seemed that if I looked right it was a normal dinner party and left the living dead. I'm not a great cook by any stretch of the imagination but I can cook a simple pasta so we had pumpkin based macaroni cheese with greens and a pumpkin spiced cheese cake for desert (that I was actually fairly proud of). Plus I got to use some of my vintage collection of dishes and pots that usually sit on the shelves. 
My friend Dona and I had made makeshift decorations in the afternoon in between navigating Wilf's diner and general entertainment of a poorly almost one year old. Dona suggested tying the ends of all the scrap colours of paper to the end of coloured thread to hand down like autumn leaves. Of course we never quite got that far but its a beautiful idea for next year. Last year at Halloween we laid low, I was fatter than a pumpkin at this point and we didn't attend any parties or even acknowledge the day at all really. I remember thinking how it exciting it would be for the following year with my soon to be one year old and what adorable outfit we would dress him in. You can see how thrilled Wilf was with his Halloween baby grow here so I didn't attempt to put him in his pumpkin costume. Poor baby was still feeling so rubbish, next year he will be able to appreciate so much more. 
It was so nice to be able to chat with adults about adult things, I did talk about Wilf of course but only when prompted. I also laughed like I haven't laughed in a long long time. Y'know the kind of laughing where at first its just really funny but then it goes on a little too long and you start crying with laughter and everyone else has stopped laughing so you really should now as its getting a little embarrassing? Well that only happened once that night and luckily I was able to pull myself back together before it got that bad, Dona is the worst culprit for making me laugh like that and once she is doing it too I cannot look at her as I get the fear it will escalate into hysterical laughing such that is kind of awkward to others. Still, its so good to laugh. I even got to have two glasses of rum, which is my favourite drink and one I had not been able to indulge in for two years! Sure that may have been that extra push that led to my middle of the night breakdown but it was coming anyway. 
It's good to hang out with old friends and remember who you were before you had a baby, I feel like I'm the same person its just I don't have the time to remember quite who that is sometimes. Its good to have friends that understand that also. Perhaps its the coming of the colder weather or just a craving for more time for myself but I am taking an impromptu break to West Wales to visit my family. This doesn't mean time to myself necessarily of course but it will be a change of scenery and siblings to entertain Wilf and a Grumpy (Grandad) to dote on him. Tom has to stay here for work and we will miss him but I also think its nice to get out of your routine and what you take for granted and look at things with fresh eyes. I know I will return refreshed and having missed Tom and our life here and be able to appreciate it all over again. 
Now my camera is back in order I have lots of photos to share with you over the past week or so and I look forward to taking some on our trip away too! xoxo
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